It’s amazing how many people have secrets. Not that they intend to have secrets, but they do.
I was at the zoo with my son, (whom I will now and forever in these posts refer to as Tigger because it fits him too perfectly) and as we were playing at the tree house, I got to talking with one of the other parents there.
The usual questions were asked. “Where are you from?” “How many kids?” “Is he your only one?”
I decided that right off the bat that I wasn’t going to shy away from that question. I wasn’t going to exclude my second (whom I will refer to as Lion. The story of that name will come out soon.) from our family.
When I made that decision, I didn’t realize how hard it would be. Do I want to deal with the looks of pity or sorrow or face the people who no longer make eye contact because they don’t know what to say? What do I tell perfect strangers? What do I tell those who know me and haven’t heard yet? It’s not as easy as I thought it would be.
Since then I’ve been able to come up with an answer that I’m comfortable with. “He’s my only one living.” As of now, that’s been a good answer. So when I gave my answer to the dad I was talking about, he said he was sorry and that he and his wife have a child in heaven also.
We were silent for a little while, and in that time I had a few things run through my head. One—I really wanted to ask what had happened but I didn’t feel like it was appropriate for some reason. Two—I was amazed at how many people I’ve learned have a child who has passed away.
It’s not like that kind of experience is something that is advertised, but at the same time I’m amazed at how many people around me have had similar experiences. It’s like they came out of the woodworks. When I think about it I would have no reason to know those particular details of people’s lives. It’s just our experience gave them an opportunity to say they understand a bit about what I’ve been through because they’ve had a similar experience. It’s comforting and eye opening. I didn’t realize how come having a child pass away is. I’m either hyper sensitive to it or it’s a lot more common than I ever knew.
It’s also made me realize in a round about way that life goes on and that makes me sad. Life moves on. Not everyone around me knows what has happened. People move, kids grow up, and memories fade. Prayerfully, memories will get stronger not weaker. Prayerfully I will be able to continue to learn and grow from my experience with Lion. Prayerfully I will be able to help Tigger remember and know his little brother.
And to all those parents and kids who have a child or sibling in heaven, my heart goes out to you and you are not alone.